This holiday season, Americans plan to cash in on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, with nearly 45% of consumers making purchases on Black Friday and 47% shopping on Cyber Monday, according to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

Between these two shopping holidays, consumers plan to spend $584 (up 17% from 2014), and this year, 20% more of affluent consumers-categorized as those earning $100,000 or more annually-will be leading the charge, as 56% plan to take advantage of this annual shopping holiday compared to just 46% last year.

"Consumers love a good deal, and many are planning to search for the latest and greatest on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year," said Jed Scala, Senior Vice President, Consumer Lending at American Express.

"The purchases won't stop there, however, as we expect to also see steady spending throughout the holiday season in a number of areas including travel and entertainment."

Although a good deal of holiday shopping will take place between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers can also expect a steady flow of shoppers throughout the holiday season, as 62% of consumers say they will only have completed half or less of their holiday shopping by this time. On average, consumers plan to purchase holiday gifts for eight people, spending the majority of their shopping dollars (total average of $839) on children and spouses/significant others.

Most Black Friday devotees (55%) plan to shop between the hours of 12 a.m. and 7 a.m., and although those brave enough to shop in-store (23%) may physically get their hands on the best deals first, nearly 67% of Black Friday shoppers prefer to combine online and in-store shopping.

Holiday shopping in general continues to be dominated by online purchases with two in five (41%) consumers planning to complete mostly all or some of their shopping online. It's not just about shopping on the computer, however: Browsing on the go is significantly up with more than one-half of Americans (58%) using a smartphone for holiday shopping (vs. 49% in 2014), whether it is to browse, compare prices or make a purchase.

The majority of Americans will make their purchases from super stores (67%) this holiday season, where they can find gifts for the whole family. Significantly behind are department stores (47%), another one-stop shop. People are also supporting their Main Streets in increasing numbers, with local small business shopping up 17% compared to 2014.

Gift cards (57%) continue to top shopping lists, followed by clothing and accessories (47%) and toys/games (44%). Contrary to popular belief, both men (54%) and women (59%) think gift cards are the ideal gift for loved ones, citing usefulness and flexibility for the recipient and convenience for the recipient.

Holiday spending doesn't end with gifts. In fact, Americans are choosing to spend money in more philanthropic ways this holiday season. Millennials, in particular, are significantly more interested in giving to charitable causes compared to the general population (74% vs. 65% overall).